Comprehensive Immigration Reform Urgently Needed

flag-and-immigrantsYesterday, the President gave a long-awaited public speech on immigration. The speech reflected what we know first hand here in Nebraska; the need for common-sense immigration reform is urgent.

Describing a “creaky system” of “patchwork fixes and ill-conceived revisions,” the President affirmed his commitment to an immigration reform package that provides a path to citizenship for the millions of immigrant working families who are an important part of our communities and economy, as well as reforms to address the long backlogs, waiting periods, and other problems family members face in a system that no longer lives up to our values.

The President’s speech now must be followed by action.

We need to see that our members of Congress and the Administration are serious about tackling this tough issue creating order out of the chaos of the current immigration system. The lack of federal action has created a vacuum that contributed to the choice of Fremont voters to enact an unconstitutional, expensive, and divisive ordinance and to similar actions by the State of Arizona. We cannot have a patchwork of 50 or more different immigration laws for different states and communities. Our broken system is a national crisis that requires strong and relentless presidential leadership and bold action from the United States Congress.

Our country desperately needs an immigration system that works. Nearly a thousand families are being torn apart every single day by a broken immigration system that wastes our tax dollars. In Fremont, Nebraska, a climate of fear, distrust and division has taken over the community and will not soon pass. Tax dollars will be spent defending an unconstitutional ordinance and at the end of the day, no real solutions will result until action is taken at the federal level to repair our immigration system. In the meantime, Nebraskans of all backgrounds lose out on the opportunity immigration represents for the future of our communities, the opportunity to build upon the good will, skills, and talents we have together.

As Bishop Wester, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has asked, for how long will we continue to invest enormous resources in a system that makes us less safe? And for how long will we continue to prioritize using our manpower, weaponry, and resources to separate powerless mothers and fathers from even more powerless children? Our current system is illogical.

Our Congressional delegation must join the communities of faith, business, labor, and law enforcement across Nebraska to find common ground and finally solve this problem once and for all for the future of our state. Our Senators and members of Congress must step up now and tackle one of our State’s and our country’s most pressing issues.”

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